Nutrition and Oral Health
Food and its role in oral health is recognized throughout history. Prehistoric humans did not have the knowledge or resources to brush their teeth; Instead, their secret to healthy teeth was their nutrition.
This is observed in the shift of hunter-gatherer societies to those who farmed. Studying the dentition and remains of prehistoric human skeletons, Nature Genetics published their observations as to why the hunter gatherers had better oral health than people in farming communities. The evidence: the farmed foods are higher in sugar and lower in fiber which is known to be related to greater oral health issues such as cavities. The shift from meat, vegetables and nuts to carbohydrates and sugar is correlated to greater oral bacteria found within-in people’s mouths and to the destructive effect to their oral health.
One of the best things you can do to maintain your oral health is drink plenty of water, especially with fluoride, to help prevent cavities. Drinking water washes excess food away so your teeth and gums are simply cleaner and it also promotes saliva production.
Calcium intake is also a big contributor to your health and it is extremely important in keeping your teeth strong and healthy. According to the College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois Chicago, calcium rich foods you should consume include low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese, tofu, canned salmon, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables, like kale and spinach. Calcium both protects and rebuilds your enamel, making your teeth stronger. Milk products can help prevent tooth decay and lower acid levels in the mouth.
Fruits and vegetables are also vital in keeping your mouth healthy. Crispy foods like apples, carrots and celery help to clean the plaque off of your teeth while chewing. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which helps to protect your gums and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection. Berries, like raspberries, cranberries and blueberries fight against harmful pathogens that attach your tissues, including your teeth.
You should also give some thought as to when you should eat foods to promote your oral health. For instance, consuming raw foods (like crunchy vegetables) at the end of your meals is most effective because they work to clean teeth, massage the gums, and aid in the production of saliva. When eating sugary foods or a desert, consuming acid neutralizing foods like milk, cheese, or yogurt will reduce the acid that attacks on your teeth and lower the risk of developing cavaties.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are nine foods you should avoid in order to keep a healthy mouth. Hard candies are loaded with sugar that can sit on the surface of your teeth for a long time which damages your teeth. Another “food” to avoid is ice. Although it is just water, chewing ice actually degrades the enamel on your teeth. Citrus can be dangerous in large amounts too. The acidity of the citrus erodes the enamel, just like ice does, and your teeth become more susceptible to decay over time. Coffee and tea become more dangerous to the mouth once you add sugars as well. Plus,over time, they can stain your teeth. Drinking plenty of water after consuming coffee and tea is helpful in protecting your mouth. Sticky foods, heavy starches, soda, and alcohol are all foods the ADA does not recommend if your goal is to maintain the very best oral health.